Choppin It Up With Ghostface
Ghostface is infamous for his interviews, but it’s the best kind of infamy. His colorful use of language spawned Big Ghost Chronicles, a blog devoted to his bizarre lyrical stylings and eviscerating Drake. Sample sentence: “Ayo whattup you now in the presence of the mighty Hands Of Zeus aka the grand imperial Cocaine Biceps.”
Ghost’s unique brand of stream of consciousness spills over from his rhymes into his rhetoric, spinning looping threads of “nah means” and “yah heards” through which he drops jewels. It’s pretzel logic at its flyest. In that way, he’s like Wu Tang’s mystic.
On Thursday, he’s coming to the Wilbur in support of his latest project, 12 Reasons To Die. A collaboration with the soulful producer Adrian Younge, the tour features a live band to help flesh out the album’s lush sound. Below, Ghost talks DOOM collaborations, freaking beats, the Wu tour and more. Shit is off the meat rack.
How natural is it for you to rock a show with a live band? Do you prefer it to a DJ?
I mean, I like both of them. A live band is good, a live band is—more liver, nah mean. You got the DJ, which is a different feel, with the same songs. A live band just gives it more of a show show. There’s more for people to look at, too.
I caught you back in 06’ or 07’ with Rakim in Philly.
Yea, yea, with The Roots—I remember that.
When did you realize the potential with Adrian? Stylistically, it’s such a good fit.
I just did this job like I was a hitman. He reached out, him and Bob Perry [A&R for Soul Temple], to my manager and asked if I wanted to do this project. Adrian was like, “This is what it is and this is what I want you to do.” And I just took care of it. I never met Adrian until it was finished.
How was it performing with DOOM in London recently? Did you guys record at all over there?
Nah, me and DOOM, I finished with DOOM before I started this tour. But everything was good though. Nah mean?
Is that collab record with DOOM ever going to drop? It’s like the East Coast Detox.
We’re supposed to go for Halloween.
Now about the Wu tour: I saw the tweet about managers fucking up the anniversary tour. Is shit smoothed over?
I don’t know, I don’t even put myself inside that Wu Tang shit like that and what’s going on and shit. Right now I’m just worried about Tony Starks, Ghostface Killah and Iron Man, yah heard?
Has your creative process shifted at all throughout the years?
Everything always changes, but it ain’t that hard to go back to what you used to do. As the years and days go by, you might accumulate more thoughts or you might see shit a little differently than how you used to see shit, but nothing ever really stays the same.
How much did dust shape the stream of conscious style on Supreme Clientele?
That was just the times, you know. I’m versatile, so I just do a lot of shit. I can go this way and go that way and go that way. Ironman was more like a product of the environment I was in. Ironman was a more dark album, Supreme is more colorful. When I was doing Supreme, you know, I was in a different space.
I like to just play with shit, I play with music. Everything doesn’t have to be so muthafuckin’ serious all the time. It’s an art form. But I’m always into beats, I like good beats and shit—I mean to me, some people might not like what I like. And that’s it. Once you’ve got good beats and you got a little bit of time on your hands and you really love what you’re doing, you can go ’head and just freak the shit any way you want to freak it.
What’s good with the follow up to Supreme—Blue and Cream? Any more details of when it’s coming out?
Right now I just want to get off this road and go back to fix a little bit of the shit I need to fix on it. And really try to focus to get it to where I’m comfortable with it. Right now I’m at like 85 percent. Nah mean? It don’t take that long. You just gotta take some time and know where you want to put certain things, and know what kind of sound you want to add in there. And that’s really it, besides getting features.
What have your experiences been like in Boston performing?
I haven’t been to Boston for a minute. Last time I was in Boston was with Wu Tang a couple of years ago. I love Boston—it’s one of my favorite cities. They show a lot of love there. When they love you, they love you—from music to sports. They really diehard fans. Every time I come, the energy is always the same, it’s off the meat rack.
Did you see any of the Celtics/Knicks game last night?
Yea, I caught some of it. I didn’t watch the whole thing but I saw some of it.
I didn’t know if it was like Big L: “I’m from New York but never was a fan of the Knicks.”
I mean yea, I went through that phase.